In 2018, voters in Missouri made it overwhelmingly clear that transparency, reforming campaign finance, and ending gerrymandering were important steps to be taken in reforming our democracy when they approved Amendment 1, also known as “Clean Missouri”. A little over a year later, LWV of Missouri is gearing up to fight proposals to replace the redistricting reforms that voters approved with a less transparent process that would allow unprecedented partisan and racial gerrymandering.
Amendment 1 contained key government reforms related to redistricting such as establishing an independent demographer to draw district lines and creating redistricting criteria to help keep electoral districts fair and competitive. It also required legislators to follow Missouri’s transparency law, and curtailed donations and influence from lobbyists. However, since the beginning of the legislative session in Missouri, legislators have pushed forward bills that actively undermine not only Amendment 1 but also the will of over 60-percent of voters in Missouri. SJR38, a proposed constitutional amendment that passed the Senate, would put a measure on the August 2020 ballot to eliminate Amendment 1’s independent demographer, allow an efficiency gap of up to 15-percent, and hide the data used for the final legislative district maps. Despite the Supreme Court's decision in Evenwel v. Abbott in 2016 saying districts should be drawn using total population, two of the resolutions would use Citizen Voting Age Population to draw maps after the 2020 Census.
Amendment 1 (Clean Missouri) was approved by 62-percent of Missouri voters. The recent actions by these legislators show that they fear accountability from voters and want to continue to rig our democracy. The League of Women Voters Missouri testified in a recent hearing on these proposals and we will continue to keep up the pressure on lawmakers who want to overturn the will of MO voters. The League encourages members to contact their state representatives to ask them to respect Missouri voters and not replace Amendment 1’s fair maps with a more partisan process.